Sixth Gun

The Sixth Gun 23 (June 2012)

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I’m unsure why this issue is called “Part Six” of the previous story arc. It’s a done in one setting up the next story arc a little, but also catching up with previous guest star Kirby Hale. In turn, he runs into some other former guest stars and Bunn’s plan for the next arc becomes somewhat clear.

Tyler Crook fills in on the art and does a fine job. Bunn writes Kirby as incorrigible, almost more likable after each page. Especially the finish. Bunn gives him a great exit line.

But where are Becky and Drake? It really didn’t seem like Bunn was done with them in the last issue and here they just get an off page mention. Maybe my expectations are out of whack as Bunn identifies this issue as part of the last story….

Titling concerns aside, it’s another excellent issue. Bunn clearly has his favorite guests.

CREDITS

A Town Called Penance, Part Six; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Tyler Crook; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Douglas E Sherwood; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Sixth Gun 22 (May 2012)

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Turns out I was wrong–last issue did end with a soft cliffhanger. Becky and Drake are relatively fine as this issue opens; Bunn does not acknowledge the dialogue-free previous issue either. It’s sort of strange, not to mention it, but the issue works anyway.

Bunn continues showing Drake’s viciousness, which is another interesting move. He’s juxtaposing that viciousness against the real possibility Drake is some kind of magical guy. Like an immortal soul tied to the metal in the guns. And Becky is along for the ride. There’s a great moment of conflict for her, when she internally questions Drake’s behavior. Of course, this internal questioning is just between lines of dialogue and in Hurtt’s art. It’s a great scene.

Neither the reader nor the characters know all the details about the guns, leading to a deferment in moral judgment to characters’ behaviors.

Bunn writes a good comic.

CREDITS

A Town Called Penance, Part Five; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Douglas E Sherwood; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Sixth Gun 21 (April 2012)

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Bunn does a dialogue-free issue. It should be called, “One Helluva Rescue,” as Becky saves Drake from his captors and they battle the Order in its stronghold.

But the issue isn’t just free of dialogue, it’s silent. When Becky and Drake communicate, they do it through body language. It’s not like Bunn and Hurtt are inferring they’re talking between panels. It’s just silent and that silence emphasizes the action.

The issue follows Becky until the last couple pages. How she finds the hideout, how she gets down to free Drake. Bunn even sticks with her when Drake takes his revenge–that moment, her waiting–is when it’s clear how far Bunn and Hurtt have taken their characters in Sixth Gun.

The issue also has a hard cliffhanger masquerading as a soft one. The leads are in danger of drowning.

It’s an awesome issue with some gorgeous artwork from Hurtt.

CREDITS

A Town Called Penance, Part Four; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Douglas E Sherwood; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Sixth Gun 20 (March 2012)

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Brian Hurtt has a very pleasant style to his artwork. It’s often warm, regardless of content. This issue, however, featuring Drake tortured, it’s not so pleasant. The aged doctor doing the torturing is almost cute in an eccentric mad scientist way, but he’s doing such terrible things. Hurtt’s art style leads to The Sixth Gun being a constant surprise.

Also a constant surprise is how low Bunn is willing to take Drake and still keep him a sympathetic character. Even when he’s being tortured, Bunn manages to reveal something else unpleasant about the character.

Meanwhile, Becky is in the middle of a shootout–which has a couple surprises–and it becomes clear Bunn’s keeping the arc’s supporting cast distant for a reason. While Drake’s scenes are interesting because it’s a lot of information about the backstory, Becky’s half of the issue is pure Western shootout excitement.

It’s an excellent issue.

A 

CREDITS

A Town Called Penance, Part Three; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Douglas E Sherwood; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Sixth Gun 19 (February 2012)

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Bunn still doesn’t have much of a story for Drake. He pretty much gets a good meal and then gets in a bunch of trouble. Or he’s about to get in a bunch of trouble. There’s the threat of it….

But Becky does get in a bunch of trouble, a couple times even. Bunn gives her the Yojimbo plot, which is more interesting because of the gender roles. Also because there’s a big secret she discovers and it plays into the plot a little.

Bunn’s really good at toying with reader expectations. There are a couple tense moments in the issue, lead characters in danger, where it seems like it could go either way.

And Hurtt gets some varied action to render. There are only two action scenes but they’re quite different.

There’s still a lack of spark to the new supporting cast members, but Gun’s starting to cook again.

CREDITS

A Town Called Penance, Part Two; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Douglas E Sherwood; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Sixth Gun 18 (January 2012)

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It’s a setup issue. Becky is in a desolate, starving town looking for Drake. Drake is meanwhile dealing with his captors. They both make–or think about making (it’s unclear so far)–unexpected deals.

And that recap is about it. Bunn introduces some new characters, but none of them resonate except the ones Becky encounters. They only resonate, however, because their situation is so desperate.

It’s not lazy writing, or even unimaginative… it’s just very workman. Bunn has to get the next arc setup and he does, only without making it compelling on its own. Instead, he lets the series’s momentum carry the issue through.

Sadly, the lack of action gives Hurtt little to do. His art’s excellent as usual, there’s just nothing dynamic going on.

The issue is too passive. Becky and Drake’s respective supporting casts are far more active than the leads. The imbalance makes the issue drag.

CREDITS

A Town Called Penance, Part One; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Douglas E Sherwood; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Sixth Gun 17 (November 2011)

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Billjohn’s back. Heck yeah.

I’ve been missing Billjohn and Bunn and Hurtt reveal he’s back in the first couple pages this issue.

This issue finishes the “Bound” arc and shows how complicated Bunn’s plotting is on The Sixth Gun. While nothing big happened–except Drake’s disappearance–the reader learns a great deal about Becky and Gord. Bunn waits until now to reveal another layer to the whole picture as well.

He’s got to have some kind of outline.

There’s more action than in the last couple issues here, with Gord fighting himself (sometimes literally) as he struggles to deal with a devil. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

And then Becky has her big moment, along with a quieter one where she discovers more powers of the Sixth Gun.

This arc gives Bunn and Hurtt a lot more toys and somehow revitalizes the series, even though it didn’t need to be.

It’s excellent.

The Sixth Gun 16 (October 2011)

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I can see now why Bunn put all the action at the beginning of this arc. It’s not about action, it’s about the calm following the action.

For example, the scenes with the most action this issue are Gord’s flashbacks. Except it’s not exciting Western action, it’s the terrible things Gord went through. And it’s all off-panel. Hurtt either shows the lead up or the results. It keeps the issue active, but calm and dreary.

Bunn also comes up with some more great flashback tools. Becky’s father is able to look in on her from the past, which provides some necessary foreshadowing, makes the issue subtly tragic.

The issue, overall, is a complete downer. Gord remembers bad things and Becky discovers bad things (and people). As usual with Sixth Gun, it’s difficult to predict where Bunn is going.

Particularly great Hurtt art at the end closes the issue well.

The Sixth Gun 15 (September 2011)

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Anything after last issue was going to be a letdown and, while this issue isn’t as strong, Bunn and Hurtt are being very deliberate and careful. They’re slowly revealing the past of Gord and Becky. The beauty of The Sixth Gun being a supernatural Western is Bunn doesn’t have to use flashbacks.

Instead, he gets to use ghosts. In Gord’s case, the haunting is a little more literal for the most of the issue. While he’s walking through his past, conjuring up people long gone, Becky is getting acclimated to the weird monks protecting her.

She’s also pining for Drake, who’s missing (but not suspected dead).

The monks live in this huge castle and I really hope Bunn explains a castle in the Old West. I don’t doubt he’d explain it well, I just really want to read it.

Hurtt’s art is calm and quiet, silently majestic.

Gun‘s reliably strong.

The Sixth Gun 14 (August 2011)

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Darn that Bunn. After his first semi-weak (for Sixth Gun) issue I can remember, he comes back with an utterly outstanding one.

This issue concentrates entirely on the life of the giant mummy, who either is going to be a new major character or Bunn is just flexing his writing skills. It’s a Western gothic; fill-in artist Tyler Crook nails it. While Sixth Gun usually has a lot of horror elements, this story is far more visually disturbing. And the disturbing stuff isn’t even the horror content.

Sixth Gun is a tragedy and this issue really showcases it. The humanity Crook brings to the protagonist’s face, physically twisted and internally determined, is some of the series’s better art–no slight against awesome regular artist Brian Hurtt.

A negative person might point out the issue delays resolving the cliffhanger.

But why be negative about such a great comic book.

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